A/N: This fic was written for 14 Days of Arthur/Gwen on LJ with prompt F-60 "A/G babysits Merlin's magical children". It is based on the universe I created in "The Difficulties of Fatherhood" in which along with Arthur and Guinevere's traditional sons they also have a daughter. This fic also features Merlin's daughter from the "The Difficulties of Fatherhood", Vivienne.
Summary: Several occasions when Arthur and Gwen looked after Merlin's daughter.
"Normally I wouldn't ask this of you," Merlin muttered.
He gathered the rest of his things together. Like an absent minded doctor he kept forgetting to put things in his pack for his journey. Arthur and Gwen watched on with amusement. He finally felt he had everything he needed and turned to face them.
"Only my mother is unable to get away from Ealdor due to the harvest and I don't want to take Vivie with me because it's a long journey for a baby," he went on to explain with exasperation. "Besides last time I met with Little Vivie's grandfather was before she was born and he disowned her mother."
Gwen stepped forward and placed a hand on his shoulder. "We'll take care of her, Merlin. Don't worry about it."
"Yes, and if that old buffoon gives you any trouble just remind him that you have the entire host of King Arthur at your back," the young king added.
Arthur looked over the chambers in which Merlin dwelt. It remained the same as it had been three days after Vivie had been born and her mother had died. He glanced worriedly at Merlin. That had been over a year ago now, and he still worried that his friend had yet to get over the shock. During Gwen's pregnancy Arthur had constantly feared for her life because of what happened to his mother, never once thinking that the tragedy would fall on Merlin's family.
He looked over to Gwen who was knelt beside where Vivienne was sitting on the floor, playing with coloured bricks and shapes that they themselves had given her for her birthday. She was indifferent to her father rushing about the room, remembering strange objects and devices he felt he would need for the journey. The little child arranged the bricks into groups of colour, the red with reds, blues with blues, and yellow with yellow and so on...
"Daddy!" the girl suddenly called.
"Yes," the father said turning around.
Merlin turned around to see that the yellow bricks that Vivienne had been playing with, as yellow was her favourite colour, were floating in the air around her head as if they were orbiting a planet. He clapped his hands though not enthusiastically as he had seen that trick plenty of times before (she had first done it when she was five weeks old) and he was still busy.
"That's brilliant, Viv" he declared before turning back to Arthur to say something. "Like I said be weary of her doing things like that. If she does it too often, tell her to stop it..."
Vivienne detected her father's lack of interest and churned a disgruntled noise. As she did the bricks hurled themselves in every direction. Gwen gasped as Merlin and Arthur ducked the assault. The bricks went crashing into the walls before falling to the ground.
The two men looked at the child, worried she might to do it again. But she didn't and laughed at their shocked faces. Gwen pulled Vivienne onto her lap and the girl clapped her hands, "Daddy sorry!"
Merlin looked to Arthur again. "And be prepared to duck at all times," he explained.
"Why don't you tell her off?" Arthur asked.
Merlin sighed. "She can't help it. I know I couldn't when I was her age and I was a lot worse."
He picked up his bag and threw it over his shoulder.
"That is why I don't like to ask you," he admittedly. "I mean, we all knew there was a chance that Vivienne would be like me but... well, I have learned how to handle her and my mother knew how to handle it..."
Gwen picked Vivienne up. "And we can handle it too, can't we Arthur?"
"Of course we can handle it," he said quickly, turning his head between his wife and friend. "We have a daughter of our own. It shouldn't be too difficult."
The little girl smiled sweetly at him. Arthur smiled back; he liked little Vivie, he just felt a little overwhelmed every time she sent objects flying.
Merlin prided himself in being a good father.
The truth was that he had never expected to have children, he certainly hadn't planned to. In his mind he would tell himself he didn't mind never having a family of his own, deciding (comically) he'd latch on to Arthur and Gwen if (and when) they had their brood. At first he thought he would like the ordinary life of having a wife and children but felt thought it would never happen. His inadequateness with women alone made him think the chance of having a family was unlikely, but it was his magic that made him feel it would not be a good idea.
He didn't wish that on anyone; moving an object without realising, waking up in the middle of the night because of voices in their head, and living in fear of Uther. The latter threat was now gone but the other two were constant and Merlin honestly had thought he would never have children.
But she had wanted them.
Vivienne never met her grandfather. The old man continued to shun his son-in-law and granddaughter even after Merlin went to go and see him. Instead of trying to make peace in the interest of his daughter's child he merely placed all the blame on Merlin, saying that she would never have died had it not been for him. It hit a nerve that the warlock was very sensitive about.
Yet he kept his head high and carried on.
Being the royal advisor to the king and court magician he frequently had to be away from court. When Vivienne was younger Arthur had tried to limit the amount of times Merlin was away to when only Hunith was visiting Camelot and only on occasion would the situation be so desperate that she would have to be left in the royal nursery for Arthur and Gwen to look after.
The truth was that Merlin did not like to leave his daughter; he was paranoid something awful might happen to her. He had enemies after all and given that Merlin, especially because of Vivienne's natural hereditary skill, intended to train his daughter to be a sorcerer like him he knew there were people out there in the sticks that want to prevent 'a second coming'. He was the great Emrys, after all. He went down in the ancient prophecies as a kingmaker, a country-builder and someone renowned to be wise and merciful unless provoked to deal with evil. Then he would become ruthless; he had the power to rip people apart just with his eyes...
Merlin didn't want Vivienne to be like that or be considered in similar light, but as the daughter of Emrys she was naturally considered his heir to greatness. She was also someone to for his enemies to fear. Morgana had already been to see him.
"If I ever seen you within ten feet of my daughter," Merlin had told her darkly, "Don't think that any guilt, sorrow or past friendship between us will me from ripping you apart."
"Charming," Morgana scoffed. "I'd be a fool not to at least try, especially since that girl will grow to be a second Emrys. Yet I will not harm her."
"Why would you not harm her?" Merlin questioned, not trusting the witch's word. He never could bring himself to trust her.
Morgana just smiled. "She might be of use to me one day."
After that Merlin resolved never to let Vivienne leave Camelot's walls without him or someone else with her. From a young age he admitted to her that there were people in the world that wanted to corrupt her and turn her to the dark side. The thought had upset Vivienne, not so much the threat of bad people but the fear of what they would do to her.
Vivienne brought up her fears one day when her father was away. "To don't want to be turned bad," she had remarked aloud one day when she sat in the royal nursery with Arlais.
Arthur and Gwen had been sitting in the adjoining room, discussing Merlin's journey to Cenred's kingdom to try and make peace with him as well as the coming of her second child. The king constantly hand his hand on the queen's abdomen despite the fact she wasn't quite showing yet. It was as if he kept wishing that the child would come out as well as Arlais had, not just that childbirth would keep Gwen from harm but overall the child's personality.
That was when they heard Vivienne's lament in the next room; she had said it very loud.
As they got up and walked into the next room they noticed that a plate that had been sat happily on the table had been flung against the wall. Arlais was indifferent to it despite being three years old; she was used to the idea that Vivienne was special. However the nurses were startled as they did not usually have to deal with this strange child. It had only been five years ago that magic had been outlawed on pain of death. Uther Pendragon would have had Vivienne put to death regardless of her young age.
Gwen waved the nurses away and knelt beside the child. "What's wrong, Vivie?"
The little girl was crying. Her pale cheeks were strained with redness and tears, her eyes were clenched and her already darkening blonde hair that showed very promise of being the same shade of her father's, hung in little vines around her face.
Arthur looked at his own daughter. Arlais sat directly opposite her friend and watched her, speechless. She was just over half a year older than Vivienne and didn't quite know how to react to her friend suddenly throwing a plate across the room with her mind (something even at this age she knew she didn't do on purpose). Arthur and Gwen had noticed Vivienne was not in the mood to play much but had assumed it was because she missed her father.
Truth was she was worried about him.
"I don't want to be evil!" she howled.
Gwen brushed one of the loose strands from the child's face. "Why would you think you might be evil?"
"Morgana does," Vivienne wept. "Daddy says we need to say away from her. She wants me to be like her!"
At the mention of Morgana Arlais hunched up and shivered. She had also been told by her parents to be weary of the witch and to run clean away if she ever saw her or came close to her. The parents had taught both girls to treat her as they would any other stranger that couldn't be trusted, especially if she had Mordred with her.
Arthur knelt beside Arlais; she leaned her head against him affectionately.
"Your daddy is trying to protect you," Gwen said softly, placing her arms around Vivienne's shoulders. "Morgana is... a witch, and she wants people that are special like you to follow her instead of your father. But she can't make you do anything you don't want to do, and if you don't want to follow her then do as your daddy says and stay away from her."
"W-what if she takes me away and forces me?" the child added frantically.
"That won't ever happen," Arthur suddenly piped up, tightening his own hold of Arlais. He spoke calmly and with the dignity of a king. "Your father will protect you and so will we. Morgana knows she is not welcome in Camelot, and as long as the three of us are here she won't dare to come here."
Even with Mordred, he thought although didn't say it. He knew it might frighten the girl more.
Vivienne looked between the king and queen, "You promise?"
Gwen smiled, "We promise."
Merlin hadn't expected to get married let alone have children. He had never been lucky with women; they kept trying to kill him, forcing him to kill them or simply just dying. That was always the case. They were always of his kind and people he tended to feel an instant bond with, so he felt he knew best how to avoid them.
The ultimate irony was that his wife had not been someone he'd felt an instant bond with. On the contrary, he hadn't considered her at all. He had never reason to, initially. She just literally jumped (or maybe she skipped, jumped and collapsed) into his life one day and kept turning up. Every time he thought it was the last time he'd see her, she'd turn up again. She didn't even have magic. That was why Merlin hadn't seen it coming—her lack of magic seemed so different to him that he never thought for a second he would fall for her any more than she would for him.
It had taken them both by surprise.
Her family had disapproved, of course. Not that she had much family. Much like Merlin she had spent a good deal of her younger years alone. From conversations with her he realised quickly that she had been a very lonely child. She had no siblings and her mother had died when she was seven leaving her at the mercy of a paranoid and patronising father who didn't know how to relate to his daughter. In desperation to keep the young girl in order he had called on the aid of his widowed sister. The detached aunt had been just as unsuccessful at relating to her niece as her brother had been. So the girl made her own comfort, allowing her father to pander and spoil her (in his vain attempt to keep her quiet) while her aunt rattled on nonsense. She tried to tell herself she was happy, but she told Merlin she was not.
"It's strange," she had told him after telling him all this for the first time. "I've never told anyone about any of this before. Now I have I realise why so few people want to be around me; I fear everything I've just told you has made me a not very nice person."
He had told her that was not true. She said he only said that because he didn't know her. Then he proceeded to assure her and, somehow, she ended up kissing him. That changed everything.
Arthur walked into the nursery to see models of the stars, the moon and the sun dancing around circles about the room. He knew the source before he even looked for it.
There sat in the middle of the room was Vivienne looking up at her flying objects and concentrating her mind on keeping the objects afloat. Arlais sat opposite her with Llacheu, just two years old, sitting on her lap and watching the stars in wonder.
Arlais noted her little brother's entrancement and smiled. "You're such a show off, Vivie!"
Vivienne smiled proudly, more so at her ability to keep the numerous objects in the air than Arlais's comment. "You're just jealous because you can't do it."
Arthur cleared his throat.
The two girls gasped. As Vivienne's head snapped to look at the king all the painted wooden stars, sun and moon fell to the ground together with an echoing clatter. Llacheu's attention to the floating stars was broken and he looked around dejectedly to see the entertainment was over.
"Daddy," Arlais scolded him, "You made Vivie lose her concentration."
Vivienne was a little nervous. "I-I was just practising..."
"I see you're getting better," Arthur commented, and walked further into the room. "Once was a time you could barely stop yourself from throwing objects around the room."
"Father has been teaching me how to control my powers," Vivienne explained.
Llacheu seemed to realise that Vivienne wasn't going to start her display again and began to whimper sadly. "Daddy," he whined in annoyance.
"See, you've upset Llacheu now!" Arlais said, trying to keep him still on her lap.
Arthur sighed and picked Llacheu out of her lap. "It's time he went to bed anyway."
The little child slowly stopped to whimper as his father carried him to his bed. Gwen past them on her way into the nursery to round up the girls for their bath and bedtime; she stroked Llacheu's head soothingly, and he cooed 'Mummy' before Arthur leant over to kiss her and carried their son off.
She turned to the girls.
"Alright you two Emer has the bath ready so you can both get in now," she announced. "You can then both go to bed."
Vivienne got up without complaint but Arlais stood still and folded her arms. "Why do we have to go to bed at the same time as a two year old?"
Gwen smiled. "You're not. You're having a bath first."
Vivienne's mother seemed to feel she had nothing left with her family once she found Merlin.
"I love my father so much," she confessed to Merlin. "I love my aunt too despite how annoying she can be... but I just can't live with them anymore. I can't lie about you, either."
Arthur and Gwen were more worried about her father and aunt than anything else. The father and aunt were apparently a force to be reckoned with. Much like with Uther in regards to Arthur and Gwen it took a long time before her father found out about Merlin. That was when she finally decided she was staying in Camelot with him.
Her father had marched into Camelot with the old boot of an aunt in tow demanding that the new king order his daughter to return to him. Arthur had been stuck in a very awkward position, and not for the first time in regards to her and, or Merlin.
He and Gwen had both gone to see them both – they were 'living in sin' at this point – when the father first turned up at court to see just how serious this was.
But they were on Merlin's side even before they stepped into the room. How could they not have been? They knew what it was like to face the tyrannical bellowing of a disapproving parent.
Uther had made their lives a living hell when he found out about them. At first he had treated it as a joke when Arthur told him that he loved Guinevere, unable to see any worth in the young woman. To him she was just an expendable servant that would never be worth anything. Then when Arthur's defiance became stronger and his love for Gwen became more apparent, Uther had tried to get rid of Gwen by bringing in girls of the court and from neighbouring to try and tempt Arthur away from Gwen. He even forced Gwen to serve these women, and they would belittle her, only too aware of her relationship with Arthur.
He did everything short of accusing her of witchcraft. Even to that day Gwen was surprised (and relieved) that Uther had not stooped to that level especially given her family's alleged history; her father's recovery during Nimueh's plague, her father's 'association' with the renegade sorcerers, not to mention Arthur falling in love with her as he did...
"He must have thought of saying it," Arthur confessed to Gwen years later when the subject of Uther was raised. "I could see it in his eyes when I looked at him, how tempted he was to say those words 'This girl must be an enchantress; why else would you love a girl like that?' But he never did."
Although Gwen felt indifferent to Uther after the suffering he had inflicted on her (and others) she liked to believe that deep down he had believed in love. He could not bring himself to accuse her of enchanting Arthur because he knew that would be a lie. And Gwen could tell Uther was the sort of man who felt he had enough lies to protect without spinning more.
Unfortunately Merlin's so-to-be father-in-law was no different. When Arthur stated to the middle-aged man that he would not force his daughter to leave unless she chose to, he damned Arthur for his lack of decisive action. It had only been shortly before that he had been praising the young king's wisdom!
Instead he turned his fury on his daughter who finally came out to face her father and aunt. They stood there with sour faces and ordered her to return home 'while there was still a chance of saving her honour'. But she refused to go and said she would remain in Camelot. Her furious father then stormed out the castle, knocking several of his own guards and servants over as he cursed his daughter for her disgraceful disobedience and declared that henceforth he had disowned her.
"I have no daughter!" he had screamed twenty odd times as he left Camelot.
"Ungrateful little wretch!" her aunt agreed in unison.
It was the last time she ever saw either of them.
Gwydre sat hunched up in the shade of a large tree in the castle grounds and watched as the other children played in the sun. His elder brother Llacheu was practising with their father Arthur and the other young boys in their drill class. His younger brother Amhar was walking across a wall under his mother's careful guidance; as he got to the end the four year old courageously jumped off and landed into the arms of his mother. She proceeded to swing him around with her before placing him back down on the ground. Finally his sister Arlais was talking with her mother's maids of honour, all her age at fourteen.
He had always been the timid one of the children. When he was Amhar's age he would never have dreamed of walking along a high wall and certainly would not jump off it from a great height, even if his mother had been there to make sure he didn't fall. Gwydre was small for his age of seven and a half, and he was pale, almost doll like. It wasn't that he was sickly as much as he was simply shy.
Vivienne saw him sitting on his own and approached him from behind.
"Are you alright Gwyd?" she asked.
The little boy span around before sighing and looking back to the field where everyone else seemed to be enjoying the sun. "I'm alright," he said dejectedly.
She sat down beside him. "You look lonely, why don't you play with the Llacheu and the other boys?"
"They laugh at me behind my back," he said quietly.
"Llacheu laughs at you?"
"No, his friends," the boy replied with a sigh. "They think I'm a push over and laugh because I use my left hand."
"They're just jealous because you're special and they aren't," Vivienne assured him. She then nudged him with her shoulder, "Besides you're the prince! You don't need to take that from them; you should remind them of that."
"Mother says that I should be gracious," Gwydre said.
"Not when you're being picked on surely," Vivienne said with justification. "If it ever bothers you again and you don't want to tell your parents, tell Llacheu. You know he'd stick up for you. He's your big brother."
"Sometimes I think I annoy him..."
"Don't be silly," the little sorceress told him. "And if Llacheu does seem a bit irate, then just tell Arlais and me. You know the boys are all frightened of Arlais. She'll put them right."
Gwydre chuckled. "They're all frightened of you too."
"They're worried you'll send objects flying at them."
"Well," she replied with a smile, "if they keep picking on you I will."
Gwydre smiled sadly but hunched up again and sat quietly. Vivienne felt so sad for him; she knew what it was like to be picked on by people. Arlais always stuck up for her but there were times when Vivienne resented her father going away and her not being able to go with him. Yet she enjoyed her time with the king and queen and their children. In some ways it was like they were all a family; that was how Arthur had described it. Vivienne had come to care about Arlais, Llacheu, Gwydre and Amhar as if they were her siblings, and Arthur and Gwen had become like an uncle and aunt to her.
Vivienne picked up a couple of leaves having an idea. "Gwydre look at this!"
He turned look at her.
She uttered the words of a spell her father had taught her that she had used many times before to entertain Arlais's younger siblings. The younger they were the more impressed they were; Amhar was her biggest fan at the moment. Although her father's little tricks that he did for the children were still impressive they liked what Vivienne could do too. Of course magic was a lot more serious than to use as a party game, but she couldn't help herself sometimes.
The moment she finished the spell the leaves tore and joined together to form the shape of a butterfly. She lifted her hands to keep it air born and her leaf-creation fluttered around Gwydre's head. He smiled again.
Amhar shouted her name excitedly as he and his mother came over, and caught sight of Vivienne's trick. The leaf-butterfly landed in Gwydre's lap and he smiled. He got up and showed it to Amhar. "Careful," he told his younger brother as he placed it in his hand. Amhar was as good as his word and walked carefully to the shade of the tree with it in his hand.
"It's so clever!" he said cheerfully.
Gwen smiled and turned to Vivienne. "I hope Arlais isn't leaving you out."
"No, I just got bored of Lady Tesni telling me about how her hairdresser pulled her hair this morning," Vivienne admitted with a smile. "I noticed Gwydre and thought I'd keep him company."
Amhar sat beside Gwydre, still holding Vivienne's creation in his hand.
Gwen turned to Gwydre, "Why aren't you playing with the others?"
"I didn't feel like it," he said, shaking his head. "I don't like Lucan or Harry because they tease me about my left-hand."
"Your father told you not to worry about that," Gwen said worriedly. She was starting to understand why Arthur was so concerned about their son's chronic shyness. "Anyway, the drills will be over with soon so you can play with Llacheu on your own."
"He won't want to play with me," Gwydre said dejectedly.
Gwen leaned her forehead against his and smiled. "Not if you stay this grumpy he won't. Come on, smile... I know you want to."
Gwydre tried to keep a straight face but quickly broke into a smile. He even laughed.
"There, see" she said sitting back in the shade and brushing Amhar fringe back. "You have such a lovely smile and laugh."
Gwydre laughed again and turned to Vivienne who returned the smile.
"We had word from your father," Gwen told her. "He should be back tomorrow."
"Good" she said with a smile. She always missed him when he was away. "I often wish I could go with him. He says when I turn fourteen next month then I can go with him."
"It should be exciting" the queen said knowing that Merlin had chosen a very small and safe trip for Vivienne's first trip outside of Camelot. The girl had only left during times of war when Gwen and the children had travelled with Arthur, Merlin and the army.
Llacheu came running over with Arlais at that moment carrying a ball.
"The drills are over and father says we should all make the most of the sun," Llacheu declared throwing the ball in the air and catching it again. "Apparently it's going to rain this afternoon."
Arlais snatched the ball from him.
"Oi!" Llacheu protested.
"We're all going to play a ball game," she declared. "Just a throw and catch game for now."
Arthur came over finally and his attention immediately turned to Gwydre, having missed him at the drills. "You're never going to get better with a sword if you sit every drill out. I'll have to practise with you later some time."
Good, thought Gwydre. That was just what he wanted.
He pulled himself to his feet. "I'll play in the ball game, though."
"Me too," Amhar said, coping Llacheu's posture as he was standing right in front of him. "I want to play too!"
Llacheu took the ball back from Arlais. "Why don't we have teams?"
"Let's play boys against the girls!" Gwydre suggested excitedly, finally glad to be doing something he could enjoy.
"Good idea," Llacheu said, passing the ball to Gwydre. He turned to Arlais, "We'll see if mother, Arlais and Vivienne manage to throw the ball in our general direction."
"Now, now, Llacheu" Arthur said cautiously. He knew Arlais would jump to the challenge.
"How dare you suggest our throw is weak?" Arlais said, not too offended. "Anyway having the boys against girls isn't fair—there are four of you and only three of us."
"Three and a half," Llacheu corrected her. "Amhar is too little to count as a full player."
Gwen walked over and picked Amhar up. "He can be on our team then since us girls are so bad at throwing, according to Llacheu."
Gwydre laughed again. "Ha, did you hear that Amhar? You're a girl."
"An honorary girl for the day," Llacheu added to the joke.
Amhar pouted. "I am not a girl. I'm a boy!"
The entire Pendragon clan plus Vivienne walked out onto the field. As they did Arthur turned to Vivienne and smiled, "It's a pity your father isn't here. He wouldn't have mind being on the girls' team."
"We'll have to play another game tomorrow when he gets back," Gwen suggested and wiggled her eyebrows at her husband. "I imagine you'll want a rematch after we beat you today."
The displeasure of her father had shaken the young woman greatly. After her father had left she had turned to Merlin. She begged him never to leave her. He promised, but did not ask her to do the same. It was as if even at that point he knew it would all end tragically. Nonetheless they were happy, marrying shortly after that little episode. It had been a quiet ceremony with just Arthur and Gwen as witnesses.
She had taken Gwen to one side afterward.
"Did Uther ever forgive Arthur?" she asked sadly.
Gwen had admittedly been taken aback by the young woman's statement as it sounded as if there was something wrong with loving her, but she knew what she meant.
"Well," she had replied softly, glancing over at Arthur and Merlin, "Before Uther was assassinated he did seem to have... a change of heart. He opposed Arthur's relationship with me to the bitter end, but he stopped trying to... hurt me. I think he knew his time was coming and he didn't want to die on a bitter note with Arthur. I wasn't the only reason Arthur had resented his father; Uther told many lies in his time."
"Haven't all kings?" the other woman had said, glancing over at Merlin. She sighed, "I can't explain why I cannot bring myself to leave. It's like... he's my kindred spirit. I know I don't have magic or anything but... he was such a lonely person, and so was I."
She turned back to Gwen.
"Does that seem strange?"
"Not at all," Gwen replied with a smile. "God knows I tried to convince myself so many times that I shouldn't love Arthur... but I couldn't keep away from him. We were like moths around a flame; you can't choose who you fall in love with."
When they had first met Gwen did not like the woman at all. It was for various reasons but she had been on tenterhooks when she realised that she and Merlin were 'a thing'. That was also when her opinion changed; Merlin brought out the best in her and she ironically brought out another side of him, a side of him that was not constantly dominated by magic.
The first activity they had ever done together was clearing out Gaius's old chambers than Merlin used to store all his magic implements and books. The newly-weds were offered larger accommodation in the castle (As it was not fitting for a royal advisor with a new wife to remain where he was living now) but the moment she caught sight of 'Merlin's workshop' as she called it, she immediately wanted to tidy it. Shortly after in the autumn Gwen found out she was pregnant with Arlais.
On reflection Gwen wished she had had more time to form a friendship with her friend's wife. They were friends but they could have been much closer.
Vivienne returned home to find her father struggling with a pile of books balanced in his arms. She dropped the basket of ingredients for potions that she was carrying and rushed over to aid him.
"It's alright, daddy!" she called affectionately, "I'll help you with that."
And she took four of the top books to help him move them to their destination, the work bench.
Once they were freed from the heavy bound pieces of paper she laughed, "What are you moving them for?"
Merlin looked at his daughter and smiled. "I thought I would clean the shelves, sort out the rubbish from worth-while spell books. There are some things here I haven't looked at in years..." The fourteen year old girl dropped onto a small stool, grabbed a strand of her dark hair and chuckled as she played with it. The father raised an eyebrow, "What's so funny about that?"
The girl looked up at him, "You always say you're going to clear everything out and everything always stays on the shelves where it has always been."
"That is not true," Merlin said, brushing the dust off the books.
"Is so!" she shot back, "There are some things that haven't even moved from the shelves since I was born!"
Merlin looked around the room. It was still the same old chambers he had always lived in Camelot although it looked very different from when he first came.
After Gaius died Merlin had sorted through all his notes, his life's work in order to discover which books would be of most use to him in his new job as royal advisor. The medical and herbal books he had given to the court healer, while his notes on prescriptions were passed on to Afallach, the new court physician. It had depressed Merlin to no end and ever since he had hated clearing out anything.
They didn't live there now but they stilled used it as an office and 'teaching room' for magic.
It was filled with relics from his 'past lives'. Up the staircase was where Merlin kept all his magic books as well as those that helped with work; books of history and philosophy. They were all things that widened his knowledge and wisdom. The shelves on the ground floor near the work bench were stacked with jars of ingredients for potions, enchantments and other spells. Bowls and equipment that had once lived on the workbench now lived on these shelves, prettily slacked according to size.
Everything had its place and the order had been maintained since Vivienne was old enough to organise it.
She is very much like her mother, Merlin reflected sadly.
Her mother had loved everything to be neatly organised and coordinated. She had always been like that since before she swept into his 'office' and turned it into her own personal creation. It was a sanctuary that Vivienne now unwittingly maintained. She kept her mother's system going despite having only known her the long and painful one and a half days it took for her to die after Vivienne's birth.
Merlin looked sombrely over to a beautifully decorated screen that ran across the wall. That had been another feature Vivienne's mother had insisted on bringing with her when she moved away to live in Camelot.
That was the last alteration Merlin made to the room as he attempted then on to keep everything as Vivienne's mother had left it the day she entered confinement in the room that was now their daughter's and never came out.
He looked to the wall that rested just beside the screen. There stood another memento to his dead lover, her collection of coloured glass vases. They were all arranged like a rainbow in accordance to hue and colour, similar to how Vivienne arranged the pots and jars they used for practical use.
Merlin looked back at his daughter. She was hunched over a book of enchantments, keen as always to learn the trade of her father.
It shocked him to think she was already fourteen. He had more or less raised her himself although Arthur and Gwen and his mother helped in every way they could. But Merlin had always felt determined to raise Vivienne how he wanted.
There were naturally times when he feared that his daughter lacked that important mother figure in her life. He was not short of kind, intelligent and crafty sorceresses who were keen to sweep her off to be trained in the old ways and, for a brief moment, he had even wondered if such an upbringing was best. He wanted the best for Vivienne.
He had been so desperate that he consulted the Lady of the Lake. She had been sympathetic as always and listened to him.
"It is ultimately down to you" her echoing voice had told him. "Although the high priestesses of our religion would teach her magic craft deftly they will not give her maternal affection. It is better for you to teach her the skills of magic. You must be both mother and father to her. You must keep her moral—would you want her to end up like Nimueh, or Morgause... or Morgana?"
The mention of Morgana had sent a shiver down his spine. If anything ever happened to Vivienne because of that witch he would track her down to the ends of the earth and tear her – and her associates – apart.
"Dad, are you alright?" asked Vivienne, curiously.
Merlin smiled. "I'm fine, Vivie. I was just... lost in my own thoughts."
Vivienne nodded, "So what are you going to do?"
He blinked, "About what?"
She tilted her head, strands of her long dark hair falling along her shoulder as she did, "Your books."
"Oh," Merlin said, looking down at the bench, reminded of his original purpose. He sighed, who was he kidding planning to 'get rid' of spell books? He groaned, "Oh, forget it—I'll put them back later."
He sat down in the chair opposite Vivienne and noticed a smile creep across her face. It was his smile, and he knew what it meant before she said the words. "I rest my case," she chuckled.
Merlin rolled his eyes. "You sound just like your mother when you say that!"
"Well she was right!"
A/N: This is my final entry for the 14 Days of Arthur & Guinevere on LJ to go with Let Cravings Become Habit and In Her Father's Image. Sadly this fic never really got off the ground like the other two did and I'm not entirely happy with it. Nonetheless I hope you all like it. I also hope I haven't confused you. I set this in The Difficulties of Fatherhood verse for two reasons: one, it was the only idea I had for A/G to interact with Merlin's magical child and two, it was quite a popular option in my poll (which was admittedly very close) so I decided to do it this way. I have now created two seperate verses for this show. LOL!!!